Cool Resources for Scientists at the Poles


As usual, the Next Wave staff has collected interesting links and resources for those of you who might be interested in learning more about doing research about or travelling to the poles. If you think we have missed out on something that needs to be included, please let us know!

General Information About the Arctic and the Antarctic

The Antarctic Treaty is the international framework that regulates research and access in Antarctica. The Madrid Protocol to protect the antarctic environment was added in 1991.

Although its name is, this site provides a lot of information and resources about both the Arctic and the Antarctic--in English and in French.

Antarctic Connection offers tons of information about the Antarctic, including information about the weather.

Polar Pointers has more links to Web sites about Antarctica and the Arctic than you can shake a very big icicle at.

The U.S. National Science Foundation provides a number of links about Antarctica, mainly to U.S.-funded projects.

The Canadian federal logistical support facility for arctic research is the Polar Continental Shelf Project, which is the best place for students to find out who's doing what in the eastern Canadian High Arctic.

University Programs

The University of the Arctic is a network of academic institutions and programs in the circumpolar North, currently developing their program structures, which--according to their literature--will deliver higher education in the North, for the North, and by the North.

The University Courses on Svalbard is a private foundation established by the Norwegian government and owned by Norway's four universities. The objective of the foundation is to offer university-level courses and to perform research relevant to Svalbard's geographical location in the High Arctic. This location makes the archipelago an ideal location for both laboratory work and the collection and analysis of data. The courses are intended to complement the teaching given by the mainland universities, and they form part of standard courses of study that lead to examinations and degrees at intermediate, advanced, and doctoral levels.

Canadian universities that support research in the North have a network called the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).

Research Institutions and Organizations

The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) provides both a forum for discussions on logistical cooperation among national agencies that work in the Antarctic and a Web site that details the resources that each country deploys in support of their national programme. COMNAP also provides an overview of all antarctic research stations.

The European Polar Board is an informal, nongovernmental organisation composed of 22 polar research organisations from 14 European countries. The board encourages both coordination of European activities in polar research and the development of new research initiatives, and it also offers opportunities for the sharing of large polar research facilities. The board's secretariat is based at the European Science Foundation.

The Canadian Polar Commission is a useful source of polar information and runs a newsgroup service for ACUNS (see above).

The U.S. Arctic Research Commission promotes arctic research, develops national research plans, and facilitates interagency coordination within the federal government and cooperation between the federal government and state and local governments in arctic research.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council, undertakes the majority of Britain's research on and around the continent. (A number of our feature's essayists work at or with the BAS...)

The Alfred Wegener-Insitute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is located in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Located in Hannover, Germany's Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is also heavily involved in polar research.

The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) was formed in 1988 to identify and bring together the distributed human and facilities resources of the arctic research community.

Research Programs and Funding Resources

Northern research grants in Canada are awarded by the Northern Research Institute, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, the Arctic Institute of North America, the Aurora Research Institute, and the Nunavut Research Institute.

Arcice is a UK Natural Environment Research Council thematic programme that aims to enhance our understanding of and capacity to predict the fluctuations of arctic sea-ice and glaciers, which influence climate and sea levels in northwestern Europe.

The Antarctic Funding Initiative is a nonthematic funding initiative from the UK's Natural Environment Research Council aimed at promoting wider participation in antarctic research by UK universities and other research organisations. It is designed to encourage field-based research carried out in the normal BAS operating area.

The purpose of the Gino Watkins Memorial Fund is to inspire and guide enterprising, particularly young, people toward exploration and research in the polar regions. The fund provides approval and grants in aid to well-conceived polar expeditions. Each year the fund helps appropriate expeditions to visit not only Greenland and other high-arctic lands, but also the Antarctic.

The Augustine Courtauld Trust offers grants to charities to support arctic and antarctic expeditions.

The U.S. National Science Foundation ( NSF) offers research grants for work in Antarctica, whereas Germany's AWI seeks research personnel for its antarctic station.

International Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and Advisory Councils

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research is an interdisciplinary committee of the International Council for Science charged with the initiation, promotion, and coordination of scientific research in Antarctica. It also provides scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty System.

The International Arctic Social Science Association (IASSA) was founded in 1990 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Its objectives are, among others, to promote and stimulate international cooperation, to increase the participation of social scientists in national and international arctic research, and to follow the IASSA statement of ethical principles for the conduct of research in the Arctic.

The Antarctica Project is the Secretariat of the U.S.-based Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, which itself contains nearly 230 organizations in 49 countries and leads international campaigns to protect the biological diversity of Antarctica, including its oceans and marine life.

The Antarctic Research Trust (ART) is a noncommercial, scientific charity registered in Stanley, Falkland Islands. The aim of ART is to support and conduct research on antarctic and subantarctic animals. The Web site is available in English and in German.

Educational and Other Resources

You can read a science writer's report about her 2001 trip to the Antarctic Ocean.

Find out what it's like to live on a research station or research ship in frozen Antarctica in the BAS's Antarctic Diaries.

The members of the Arctic Club include enthusiasts from the fields of both science and adventure, mainly from the UK. They are always willing to offer advice and information about arctic regions, particularly to young people who are planning expeditions.

Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic is a site for teachers interested in joining research expeditions at the poles.

UK-based Planetary Visions specialises in geographical and astronomical data visualisation for television, print, and electronic publishing, including a Polar Science Visualisation Library. The polar images from the Next Wave feature index page were created by Planetary Visions for the exhibition Arktis-Antarktis, presented at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, December 1997 to April 1998, and were used here by friendly permission.

Virtual Tours and Live Cams

Take a virtual tour of the U.S. McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

The Astrophysical Site-Testing Observatory (AASTO project) in Antarctica maintains a live cam.

The Alfred Wegener-Insitute offers a Web cam and the latest weather reports from Germany's Neumayer Station in Antarctica plus a near real-time course plot of its research vessel Polarstern.

Astronomy Links

If you are interested in meteorites and Antarctica, the ANSMET home page at Case Western Reserve University provides some interesting information.

Also, further information at WebExpeditions includes maps, journal entries, contact information, and an explanation of the science behind the search for meteorites.

The home page of the NASA Astrobiology Institute includes information on Dr. Wynn-Williams' work, the Europa Focus Group, and more.

Further information can be obtained at the Montana State University's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and at the Arizona State University's Astrobiology home page.

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